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No Knead Crusty Italian Bread

I have just learned this new bread making process and then I checked to see if it had been posted and yes, Lovella had posted it way back. So we chatted about it and decided that I would post it again, changing it up, but also encouraging some of you to try making some bread. Some of you are thinking, "Bread? Not Me!" You too, can make this simple recipe. It only requires a bit of planning ahead, like 24 hours.
One thing that I learned cooking with Chef Dez, is that we will be making food the rest of our lives so we may as well enjoy this process rather than dreading it.  So that's what I've been working with this fall.  Trying something new! It's inspirational and tasty. He also taught us that if things flop, call it Rustic! I love that term. I've developed a few Rustic Recipes.

Crusty Italian Bread
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature water, plus 2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoon fresh herbs, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon.
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add your water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours preferably about 18 at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. (I used almost 2 cups water.)
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
  3. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour. Fold towel ends together and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, the dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 2.5-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Coon on a rack.
Add a few fresh herbs, and the dough should look shaggy.
Cover with plastic and let sit for 12-18 hours. (Step 1)

Flour tea towel generously. Step 3

Fold tea towel up and let rise for 2 more hours.

Slide your hand under the dough and dump into hot cast iron pot.
Step 4

Yes, it looks like a flop...Shake it slightly.
Smile...The best is yet to come.

Set the pot with lid into the oven and follow instructions used for Step 4.

This is what it looks like when you take the lid off after 30 minutes.
Now, let it brown for another 20 minutes at a high heat.

When it's finished, cut it in half.
If it has holes, congratulate yourself on making
Famous Rustic Italian Bread!

I have to admit, I did have to experiment abit...
Once you have mastered this art, it will be on your favorite list. Simple, easy and tasty.


  1. This looks good, and so does the cheese bread. But I'm always tempted to use some whole wheat flour, and that can mess up the fragile ingredient balance.

    Do you have any good whole wheat (or partial whole wheat) recipes?

  2. I will have to think about making this some day, not now.

  3. This is yummy! I have made it before. All it needs is a huge hunk of butter. BTW, I made the cheddar bread; my son and husband ate nearly the whole loaf before it had time to cool properly!

  4. I decided to search your "yeast bread" archives, and I discovered "Marg's Health Buns." Those look amazing.

  5. I bake bread every week or two, usually with a good amount of stoneground whole wheat flour in it - this wheat is grown on our own farm.
    Thanks for this recipe - I'd like to give it a try. I recently found a good website with a video for no knead bread -
    I enjoy your blog and appreciate the encouragement and positive attitude that you portray.

  6. thank you for the step by step instructions on this one, youmake it look easy =)

  7. This looks so yummy and delicious. We love rustic bread with warm soups through the winter!

  8. These arthritic wrists are starting to give me second thoughts about still making my own bread but this recipe sure looks doable! way! Grin. I love RUSTIC!

  9. This bread looks lovely and just like the kind of bread recipe I have been looking for. I am hopeless at making bread, but this looks great and like something I could do!!

  10. I love how everyone "changes it up" when they try this recipe. I followed the directions like a good little home economist when I first came across it three years ago, then sent it along to Lovella, who as usual, improved it. Susan: she figured out a way to make it work with whole wheat (add gluten)

    So fun to see it being made by you with your changes too.

    My latest "change it up" is to take the dough, pull off a bit and flatten it as much as possible, (rolling pin on floured surface) to a quarter inch thick, and then cut into three inch squares which are dropped it in hot oil.

    The dough puffs up like Indian Fry Bread..and cooks in minutes. (I'm always needing hot bread in seconds to go with a last minute meal!)

    I either dust the finished product with garlic salt, or powder sugar (which makes it a dead ringer for New Orleans Beignettes)

    It ain't bad dropped raw into chili or stew either, to cook up as a dumpling.

    Confession: my supermarket now sells the dough in a plastic bag for $1.50, fresh and ready to go, and the dough hangs around my refrigerator all week, being used for this and that as inspiration strikes! The "last frontier" is a go with the trusty old waffle iron!

  11. I've been baking bread for years and the last several years, I've been trying to make a bread that has big yeasty holes in it just like your photo today. I am so excited about trying this recipe. Thank you very much.

  12. Your bread looks so yummy, I'll have to try making mini loaves and filling them with some home made soup.

    Thanks for sharing,

  13. For a long time I have been intrigued by this method of breadmaking and I keep saying some day I will do this. I am sure that once I do, there will be no going back. This gentle urge has reinspired me, especially since I've been looking for no-knead recipes. Guess I got what I was wishing for and now I need to do it, grins. Thank you so much for this post.

  14. Thanks so much for this recipe! I am an experienced breadmaker, but always looking for quicker and easy ways to get a great loaf.
    I mixed it up yesterday evening and baked it this morning. It is wonderful! Great texture and beautiful to behold!
    I made two small modifications: I didn't have instant yeast so used 1/2 tsp. regular granulated yeast and I also added 2 T. sugar.

  15. Thanks Marg, this looks great! I will try it 'your way'. Kathy

  16. A much, much easier method of getting GREAT bread is from the book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day. Plus, with one session, you get 4 loaves. The authors have a blog with new ideas and answers to questions & challenges. Try it - soooo much easier than the No Knead method. No affiliation, just a bread lovin' fan!

  17. I am anxious to try this and the cheddar bread! I am wondering where you got that orange iron cast pot with the lid? I want one! :)

  18. Would love to try this. One question - do you have to grease the pot before putting dough in to cook?

  19. Two answers....
    First of all the pot can be bought in most kitchen/hardware boutique shops...Check on line.
    I got mine as wedding gifts 36 years ago.

    Secondly you do not need to butter the pot, because there is so much flour around the dough, which makes it easy to withdraw from the sides.

  20. I am eager to try this recipe, but I need to ask you . . .
    In the instructions (#4) it says to use a 5 quart pot/pan. Then later we see the bread in the pot/pan. I'm confused. I think that pot/pan is probably more like 2 or 2.5 quarts. Also, I don't think 3 cups of flour would result in 5 quarts of bread. Is it safe to assume the 3 cups of flour is correct but I should use a 2.5 quart pot/pan? Or maybe it doesn't matter what size pot I use? Sorry to be so picky, but as the expression goes....I'm just saying :)
    Thank you all so much for your wonderful recipes and commentary.
    Looking forward to the new book!
    - reader from down south

  21. I think pretty soon we are going to ask you to become an editor...Thanks once again for bringing me back...You are so right...It does matter on the size of the pot...My pot is a 2.5 litre pot...I will change that on my post immediately.

  22. I have been making a similar version of this no-knead bread for quite a while but I make the dough with my bread machine, which takes about 1 1/2 hours.

    I've been using my 4-quart dutch oven, which is all I have, to bake it but my bread is kinda "flat" because I need a smaller size dutch oven.

    My question is...I know a 2.5 litre is equal to 2.64 quarts but the closest I can find is a 3 quart size. Do you think that would still be too large?

  23. Hi Mary, can I use wheat flour?

  24. Hi have a question. Can I mix with flour to it?

    1. HI Rose,
      You can totally mix it with wheat flour. I would use 11/2 cup flour and 11/2 cup wheat flour. Hope it works our well for you.


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